Archive for the ‘Buying a horse’ Category

Les is offering his two 2-year-old colts for sale, along with the opportunity to have him continue their training through 2011 – the Snaffle Bit Futurity.

Both colts are showing great potential already, with sound legs, sound minds, and lots of natural ability. They are both by Tomcat Chex, a proven son of High Brow Cat out of Miss Reed Chex, a Bueno Chex daughter that also produced Miss Smarty Chex, the highest money earning producer in NRCHA history.

View Pedigrees:
Bellas Scrappy Cat – $10,000
Tom’s Sassy Cat – $10,000

In addition they are both out of proven well-bred performance mares, both of which were money-earners at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno.

In addition, Les plans to take his RFD-TV audience through the training process on these colts, so you, your family and friends can all share the fun watching the training process turn your colt from a cute little 2-year-old to the high-powered performance horse he will be when he’s ready for the Futurity. Sound like the horse and experience of your dreams?

Both colts were featured on this week’s Wide World of Horses episode which will air again early Sunday morning. Check the RFD-TV for program times!

For more information, call Les (805) 455-0162 or Cody Mora (805) 489-2730.


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0509_buyinghorseGet Professional Advice
First and foremost, if you’re not a professional, get professional advice. Most non-pros are somewhat inexperienced when it comes to the “dos and don’ts” and traditions of horse trading, so choose a professional you trust and who has a good reputation in the industry.

First off, when you begin your adventure with your professional, make a payment agreement. You’re hiring this person to represent and protect your interests, and that’s a good thing. Sometimes pros work for a flat rate maybe $500 and sometimes they work on a commission. You’re better off to work on a flat rate because if you pay commission, the more you pay for the horse, the more the professional who is working for you makes, which is to your disadvantage!

Choosing a Professional
Should you recruit your trainer to help you buy a horse? You bet, but it has to be your trainer as far as protocol goes. If you don’t have a trainer, then you just want to find someone that you respect and who has a good reputation.

What to request from the owner/seller
Before you even spend the time to go look at a horse, (more…)

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Here are a couple responses to some of the comments made on our blog here. I figured I’d answer them first, then get back to “picking a prospect.”


First, Heather has a question about the Music Mount blood lines, she says certain trainers are pretty high on them; however, my experience with Music Mount has been negative. Personally, the Music Mount’s that I rode, and it was many, many years ago – back in the 60’s and maybe early 70’s – those horses didn’t have much to offer to me. So, personally I guess I’m kind of glad they are gone. I’m sure there were some good ones, but they weren’t in my barn.


The next one is from Al, and he says he’s is reading and seeing about all the great horses and trainers, and wondering where they go? You know that’d be a good book to write and someday I might give it a shot. These questions are about what has to be done to keep the food on the table for a trainer after his career is over? Well, that’s a real good question, and lots of young trainers should address it. Because there’s not a lot of money in the horse training business, so hopefully they’ll invest in land, maybe with a partner or however they can do it.  Something that gives them stabilization economically as they grow older.


What keeps you going through the dry spells, or cold spells, when nothing seems to work out?  Well to me, that’s just a matter of believing in yourself and your program. If you have a fundamental program that really works for you and you know it’s worked for you before, when time gets tough, go to fundamentals and you’ll pull through.


Here’s another question that says, I am looking forward to hearing about blood lines. I know it has a lot to do with how well a horse performs. But I wonder has there ever been a Futurity winner that’s come from mediocre blood line? No, not that I know of, but there have been some winners that were not produced by the most dominant blood line.  As a rule today, your winners are going to be pretty much produced by the most visible, most dominant bloodlines. The bloodlines really do determine a group of elite horses – they really have a huge effect.


Here is one that asks – are you going to post a photo of that diamond ring? Yes, we are going to do right away. The sun’s been out quite a bit here where I live, and the light flickers on it so brightly that is a little too much for my camera. I suspect maybe in the next few days we will have a little cloud cover and we will get a picture to put on the web here.


Next question –  can we spot a great horse or horse’s potential by watching its natural movement out in the field? No, no, no, no and no! I hear people tell me that all the time, I hate to hear these stories, they say, “Oh you should see my yearling, baby colt, it runs across the pasture and he’s a natural lead changer and he slides in the mud at the water tank and he spins around when he’s playing. I’m sure, this horse is going to be a winner.”


This has, in my opinion, very little to do with the future of the horse. You can sometimes tell that one who is standing in a group, may look like he has as a little bit more athletic ability, but it’s certainly would not determine which one I was going to buy. I’d be far more likely to buy one by bloodlines, and some of the other things we have talked about in the last blog.


Here’s another question asking about my trip to Australia. Well, my clinics in Australia, at least the first part of the year, are canceled. The best explanation that I can give is that they have a certain variety of equine influenza that has caused an epidemic down there. All gates are locked really.  The last I understood there were no horses being transported, no horse shows. They were having a horse race somewhere, but only for telecast, no people allowed at the race. They are doing all they can, or were for a period of time, to get rid of this flu bug. That’s the last I heard. It’s a big deal that they canceled all the horse events in Australia and has had huge economic impact on them.


Okay well that’s about it for right now Folks! Thanks for reading!

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Conformation. Let’s talk a little about that. There are three things to consider when looking for a performance horse prospect: conformation, attitude and aptitude. We are going to start by talking first about confirmation. When you’re looking at a horse, it’s a good idea to keep track of the pluses and minuses. Does he have a long list of good points against just a few things that you don’t like? Or does he have an equal list of positives and negative things? If you have more checks in the minus column, or one really big negative, he probably is not the horse for you, no matter how much you like him.  

If you know anything about me, you’ll already know my five most important things for performance horse are stop, stop, stop, stop and stop! There other things that it takes to make a horse a perfect package but a good stop is one main ingredient that we cannot do without. What qualities make a good stopper? Well first, we will talk about balance.  What is balance? What does that mean when one has balanced confirmation? That means the horse is pleasantly portioned, and that he is portioned to do a chosen job.

For a reined cow horse prospect, I would like to see the weight distributed to the back end of the horse. I’ll outline the confirmation that I like to see on a prospect. For the front of the horse, I like to see a swan-like neck for a lot of reasons – flexibility being the first reason. Lots of flexibility gives us the ability to bend this horse and create the lateral postures we need for high performance. The next big thing is the ultimate curvature of the spine, both laterally and horizontally allowing the rider to create better posture for high performance activities. These days we like horse’s neck to come out fairly high on his shoulders, what we call flatter-necked horses. That doesn’t mean the top of the horse’s neck is a straight line, it should have a slight curve to. It means he is not a high-necked horse.  

Today, because of the way we have changed our riding styles from where they once were, we like the horse’s neck to come out even with the  wither s  , fairly high on his shoulders with a real swan-like, clean throat latch. The whole neck can have some curve to it but we like the curve to be most obvious towards the poll. The under side of the neck should be really clean. We don’t want a horse that has big bulging muscles on the under side of its neck, like what we might call the pelican look. The bottom of the neck should come out very clean from the shoulder, and match the top line, curving smoothly to the throat latch. The throat latch should be very clean, although you might not see that in studs. Horses that are thicker through the throat latch might be more difficult to flex. Neck length should be either average or longer. I have never had trouble with a horse’s neck being too long, while a short neck limits the flexibility and makes the horse stiffer. Prominent withers are really an asset. Even one inch will make a lot of difference as to where your saddle sits. The further back your saddle sits, of course, the more weight will be distributed more towards the back of the horse, and it’s important to move all the weight we can towards the back of the horse, it will help them to perform. I like a horse whose withers are high, in fact as high as the height of the hip or maybe even slightly higher than the hip. Having withers set back also gives a little slope to the shoulder. A sloping shoulder is usually a little lighter shoulder, which is what we want in a performance horse.  Big blocky shoulders like we see in some older-bred type horses, can actually get in the way when a horse is performing reining or cow horse maneuvers.  A combination of a short neck and heavy shoulders means much more work than some.  

Well, I’m not quite halfway through this, and I have a whole bunch more to say. So I invite people to throw their comments in after this is all done, which will take a few more entries I’m sure! I’d love to know what you think, or maybe help you out a little with what I’ve learned over the years!  If there’s a mistake out there, I’ve made it, so I’d sure like to help you avoid it! 

Thanks for reading!

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Over the next couple of days,  I want to talk a little bit about how to choose a horse to buy and how to hold your money together, and still have fun in the future.  How to have the fun that we all dream about when we buy a new horse!


So now that the fall sales are in full swing, I’m going to try and give you some pointers on what to look for if you are picking out a nice young prospect.  Pretty is important, color is important, but what we really look for is star quality. Some horses just stand out. Remember when you buy a horse, your horse show destiny is chosen at that moment! Whether you are going to be happy or wondering why you ever did this, is all decided the moment that you buy that horse. So learning how to make a good choice is really important!


Spending – well you know – we all have our limits!  But spending more than you can afford at the time you buy the horse – will literally save you money down the road. It’s always been my experience that when I raise my hand and I felt really guilty, and thought, “How in the world am I going to pay for this thing?,” I always found a partner, or I always got a loan – that is – I always figured out a way to come up with the money. Something always happened.  But the most successful stories I have ever had, as far as horse purchases go, were the ones where I had the gut feeling, and didn’t let the price hold me back.


Keeping in mind that your low-end, mid range and even your upper mid range horse, they are still part of a math. Your elites are elites. And if you are talking about a horse to show at the futurity level, the top of today’s horse show world is put together of a small group of elite horses. There are more of them around than there use to be. Still, you have to have the elite horse if you are going to play ball. It costs the same amount of money for the winner as it does for the loser. Buy the horse that is high enough quality to compete at the level that you want to compete at – otherwise you are looking for a headache and heartache.


No matter what, I think you should always do a pre-purchase vet exam, and take as many x-rays as you need prior to the time you are going to buy the horse. It might be expensive at the time but it still cheap insurance. The vet will give you his findings and help aid in the decision on whether or not you purchase the horse. Remember, this is still not a guarantee of life-time soundness. Next time I have a chance, we’ll talk a little about bloodlines.  

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